5 Things I Love about BlogEngine.NET

-   Jan 09, 2008 -   BlogEngine.NET -   , , ,

While I've very biased, I do really like BlogEngine.NET.  It is a fine blog software and handles my simple blog well enough.  However, there are a few features that are extremely nice and I wanted to take a moment to highlight them and make sure you are taking advantage of them if you are a BlogEngine.NET user.

1. Extensions Rock

When Mads Kristensen first introduced Extensions, I thought it was a cool idea, but I didn't really appreciate the power they could have on my blog.  Since almost everything the blog does has an event, it is so easy to extend the software to do whatever you can think for it to do.  Additionally, you can share that code with other BlogEngine.NET users or use extensions others have created to really enhance your blogging experience. 

In the past few months, I've put together 2 extensions for my own use and have used a number of extensions that others have created and made available on the web.  (Yes, I'll likely be making my extensions available soon, but you'll have to wait until then to learn what they are.)

If you haven't looked into them, check out this list of available extensions to get a taste of what they can do.

2. Complete Comment RSS

While I don't have a ton of comments to deal with on this blog, I never really liked getting comment notification in my inbox.  I get enough emails and it just wasn't an ideal place for me to get notified of comments.  I was thrilled when BlogEngine.NET put together Site Wide Comment RSS.  By that, I mean one feed for all my comments.  Having it in my feed reader seems like the perfect place for them to be.

In case you are unsure where this can be found, my comment feed is:

http://www.nyveldt.com/blog/syndication.axd?comments=show

BlogEngine.NET also supports individual post comment RSS and I love that too.  When I want to follow the feedback of something, I just add it to my reader.  It is awesome and is found in most blog systems.

3. Great Live Writer Support

Windows Live Writer (or Live Writer as I think they are going by now) is a great tool for blogging and BlogEngine.NET has some great integration with it.  In each release of BlogEngine.NET, we've added more and more features that can be taken advantage of inside Live Writer.  Beyond the basics of writing posts, BlogEngine.NET even allows Live Writer to add new categories, handle tagging, add and edit pages, set slugs, and turn on/off comments.  Combine this with the great plug ins available for Live Writer and you've got a handy blogging tool.

If you don't use Live Writer yet, you are really missing out.

4. Pages are first class citizens

While a blog is typically made up of post, pages can be an incredibly handy thing to have.  In a personal blog like this one, it can make for a fine About me page, resume, or nice place for articles.  However, they can be used more extensively and there really is no reason not too.  They are not a side show in BlogEngine.NET.

Pages can be set to be your front page and even link into related posts.  They are searchable and can really fill out your site nicely.  (While I don't use pages much in the blog, I do have a BE site that takes much better advantage of pages.)

5. Theming is very easy

I've had a bunch of different blog systems over the years and I've done a little theme work in a few of them.  BlogEngine.NET is just so easy to use.  If you've had any experience working with ASP.NET (and I mean any) you can quickly figure out how to move things around and make them look more how you'd like.  If you are a bit more adventurous, you can convert a free template or even make your own theme without having a deep knowledge of BlogEngine.NET.  I remember being shocked that I was able to make my first BlogEngine.NET theme in a 2 hour window and it seemed I spent half that time making decisions on where I wanted items verses trying to figure out how to do it (and that was before I joined the dev team and had spent any time really looking through the code.)

The next version of BlogEngine.NET will make customizations even easier, but if you've ever wanted a unique look for your blog, you own it to yourself to see how easy it really is now.  I made a theming screencast a while back that walk you through make one from scratch, talking through each step and it runs about 25 minutes.  If you start by copying an existing theme, you would likely cut your time in half.

13 Comments

Commented on 1/11/2008 11:31:28 AM
I just started using blogengine.net and its been pretty damn sweet.  When I get some free time on my current projects I'm planning on tricking it out with a customized theme and tons of sweet, sweet extensions...
Commented on 1/11/2008 2:11:23 PM
I totally agree on all points.  I've also been very impressed at the ease of integrating new changes.  I created a custom theme when the first release of BlogEngine came out and though I always diff the changes when a new release comes out, I've had to make very few changers to my custom work.
Commented on 1/11/2008 3:15:58 PM
I am with you 100%, and after the screen cast Mads introduced on the new coming widget framework I think your will list will expand by the time.

Great job on the engine keep it going guys .
Commented on 1/11/2008 3:53:10 PM
Hey Now Nyveldt,
I like the list. I agree w/ Amr it is going to expand w/ time.
thx 4 the info,
Catto
Commented on 1/11/2008 4:48:25 PM
Don't forge that BlogEngine.NET has some really awesome examples of how to implement a provider based data layer, and how to build better themeing support that what ASP.NET 2.0 has built in.

BlogEngine is just an awesome project!
Commented on 1/12/2008 1:31:51 AM
WOW!   All this time using BlogEngine.Net and I never knew about the comments feed.  I'm with you about not getting emails for new comments.  Thanks for pointing this out!
Commented on 1/17/2008 9:17:19 AM
6.  You can run the entire site without a database.  Makes it really sipmle to backup, restore, and pull down for development locally.  Not to mention, on some hosts, having a database costs money.
Commented on 1/18/2008 3:29:47 AM
While not having to run a blog on a database can be a good thing for small blogs, when your blog begins to grow in size, the XML format becomes unwieldy and slow.  Yes, there is support for MSSQL, but currently there's no working support for MySQL, which to me (and many others I know) is a big reason why we haven't adopted the software yet.  I would like to use BE.NET, but I need MySQL support to go with the rest of my site.
Commented on 1/18/2008 4:56:31 AM
MySQL support will be in the next version of BlogEngine.NET.  The wait is almost over Smile
Commented on 1/18/2008 5:15:58 AM
Unwieldy and slow, eh?

Considering that the app handles the xml, and you dont actually have to manage it yourself, I am curious how it gets unwieldy.  And, since most of the time, the xml cached, and there are very few writes, I wonder how much slower the xml version is compared to the my/mssql versions.

Do you still have your results from the performance tests you have run, or are you just making assumptions?

And, how big is a big blog?  Do you mean the number of posts you have, or the number of hits per day you serve?

Jesse Foster | jf26028
Commented on 1/18/2008 8:25:09 AM
I'm extremely excited for MySQL support.

As for unwieldy and slow, I mean a blog that has upwards of 1000 posts. I haven't personally performed any tests with a blog of this size, but I have a developer friend who has imported an existing 1000+ post blog into BE.NET and has reported it being as such.  I suppose I should have stated that in my comment rather than claiming that statement as my own.  

However, it does make sense, though; XML wasn't designed to be a database (although it can be and often is used as one), and isn't nearly as quick at retrieving values from large datasets that a conventional My/MSSQL db is.

Either way, I still am looking forward to using this project once the MySQL support happens.  I believe it will be better than any platform out there so far.
que0x
Commented on 1/18/2008 6:15:47 PM
I'm asp.net developer though i think asp.net/java (complied languages ) does not fit in blog engines, php rocks when it come to blogs
Commented on 1/19/2008 8:12:25 PM
There is a MySql provider right here www.mrwize.nu/.../...ovider-for-BlogEngineNET.aspx
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